Transitioning into a civilian career means you’ll most likely have to learn a new set of rules in the way of work style. In the military, the process of getting things done was pretty cut and dry, with little room for creativity. The civilian sector, however, comes with as many “ways of working” as there are people. Still, there are some clear differences between Veteran and civilian work styles that are found in every workplace. Being aware of these differences is key to a Vet’s success in a civilian world.
Here are our top three differences between Veteran and civilian work styles:
Preferred Lines of Communication
It’s no secret, millennials prefer email and text over phone calls and face-to-face communication. Since this group is now the most represented generation in the civilian workforce, these communication preferences have seeped their way into workplaces all across the country. With a focus on emails, more than 205 billion of them are sent every single day, and the average office worker receives 121 emails on a daily basis. Though you may have sent your fair share of email reports in your military days, your email experience most likely lacks compared to that of a civilian worker. Out of the need for immediate feedback, the military holds tight to the traditional face-to-face (or phone call) communication style. In the civilian sector, the lack of urgency compared to the military’s needs are why email-heavy correspondence works.
Teamwork vs. Solo Projects
Working as a team is the founding principle of any great military culture. Working alone in training or on the battlefield could result in devastating consequences, which is why the military work style is one of collaboration and teamwork. Out in the civilian sector, however, solo projects are plentiful, and sometimes even more efficient. Though there will still be opportunities to work in a team setting, proving you’re capable to go at it alone will show versatility in work styles — something all employers desire in employees.
Being a jack-of-all-trades and master of none is a well-known and widely-accepted part of being an active duty Veteran. It’s rare that someone in the military would have the opportunity to hold one position for more than a few years. Civilians, on the other hand, can make an entire 20-, 30-, or 40-year career in the same job. With that much time devoted to a single skillset, civilians come with more centralized expertise. But with your constant training in various skills, your learning agility is going to be higher than most of your civilian peers. This means you’ll be able to catch on fast and become a productive member of the company in less time than it might take others.
As a Veteran, your differences in work style doesn’t have to be a disadvantage when entering the civilian workforce. You simply need to find a balance that works for you and your employer. Luckily, SAVI can help you adjust and grow upon your skills with our free services for transitioning Veterans. Contact us today to learn more.